The Japanese Consul General in Fuzhou frequently dispatched consular police officers to investigate conditions in Fuqing and its environs. In 1927 and 1928, police were unable to enter the area due to turbulent conditions following the collapse of the United Front and the establishment of Jiang Jieshi’s Nanjing government. While they regained access by 1929, they had to contend on each visit with villagers who believed that they had come to remove the Japanese women, and who concealed the women and/or prevented the officers and their Chinese escorts from entering the villages. In June 1929, a Japanese consular police officer, disguised as a Chinese and accompanied by an interpreter and twenty Chinese soldiers, succeeded in extricating five women and four children; this was deemed a successful mission. Later that year, consular police dispatched a Chinese informant, disguised as a peddler, to identify Japanese women in each village; that December, they launched a ten-day expedition to make use of his findings, but succeeded in recovering only four people.
The situation was even more challenging when women were believed to be confined in nearby Pingtan County, a cluster of islands that was a known haven for pirates who plied the local waters. In February 1928, Japanese navy ships had fired on local fishers/pirates who were scavenging a Japanese vessel that had run aground, reportedly killing several locals and creating bad blood that lingered for years.
See also: Descriptions of Fuqing